|“||Now Garm howls loud before Gnipahellir, The fetters will burst, and the wolf run free; Much do I know of ancient lore, and more can see, Of the fate of the gods, the mighty in fight.||”|
–Stanza 44, Völuspa
Ragnarök is a series of future events, including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures in Norse Mythology, the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in water. Afterward, the world will resurface anew and fertile, the surviving and returning gods will meet, and the world will be repopulated by two human survivors. Ragnarök is an important event in the Norse canon, and has been the subject of scholarly discourse and theory.
The event is attested primarily in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In the Prose Edda, and a several of the poems in the Poetic Edda, the event is referred to as Ragnarök or Ragnarøkkr (Old Norse "Fate of the Gods" or "Twilight of the Gods" respectively).
|“||The Twilight of the Gods will happen like this: There will be three years of terrible winters and summers of black sunlight. People will loose all hope and surrender to greed, incest and civil war. Midgarthormen, the world serpent, will come lunging from the ocean dragging the tides in an flooding the earth. The Wolf, giant Fenrir, will break his invisible chains! The skies will open and Surtr the fire giant, will come flaming across the bridge to destroy the Gods. Odin will ride out of the gates of Valhalla to do battle for a last time against the wolf. Thor will kill the serpent but die from it's venom. Surtr will spread fire across the earth. And at last Fenrir shall swallow the sun!||”|
Every day, Odin and the other gods prepare for Ragnarök. He chooses slain men to join him, bringing them to Valhalla where they feast and battle against each other as preparation. When Ragnarök comes, the gathered warriors will march out of Valhalla's doors.
Described as the twilight of the gods, it will begin with three years of terrible winters and summers of black sunlight. People will lose all hope and surrender to greed, incest, and civil war. Jörmungandr, Midgardsormen, or the world serpent, will lunge out of the ocean, dragging the tides in, flooding the world, and poisoning the skies. Thor will kill the serpent, but die from its venom. The waves fill set loose Naglfar, the nail ship, and Loki shall be at the its helm to carry the giants to the final battlefield. The giant wolf Fenrir will break his invisible chains. The skies will open and Surtr the fire-giant jötunn will come flaming across the bridge to destroy the gods. Heimdall will blow on his horn to call the gods to the final battle. Freyr shall face Surtr but be cut in half. Loki shall face Heimdall and they shall slay each other. Surtr will spread fire across the earth. Then, Odin will ride out of the gates of Valhalla to do battle for a last time against the wolf, who was foretold to be the one to bring his end. At last, Fenrir will swallow the sun. But Odin's son Vidarr shall stride across the battlefield, bend the jaws of the wolf apart and stabs its heart. The fire of Surtr shall engulf Yggdrasil and the world will collapse onto itself and be drowned in water as the universe returns to Ginnunagap—the yawning gap that was before the creation of the world.